A few things on this video, which finds Chris Ott talking about Pitchfork and my review of William Basinski’s The Disintegration Loops:
1) Chris is known in some circles for his caustic and bitter commentary w/r/t music, music writing esp, and Pitchfork’s music writing most of all. But he usually talks about what he likes as well as what he doesn’t like and that holds here. So all of this is in the spirit of reasonable discussion.
2) I do remember some emails back and forth 10 years ago about what makes for good instrumental electronic music. The only thing I remember us agreeing on completley was Oval’s 94diskont.
3) Definitely possible that I didn’t think hard enough on the rating for Keith Fullerton Whitman’s Playthroughs but I still listen to that record often and I think it’s brilliant. It also has nothing to do with Basinski sonically or thematically.
4) When I’m listening to The Disintegration Loops I am not thinking about 9/11. The last 1200 words or so of my review don’t mention 9/11. I do talk about death because that feels implicit in the music. All that said, there’s no question that this piece of music reached many more people because of the association, so Chris’ observation that this may have been played up in a distasteful way seems reasonable even if I don’t feel that way. I do believe in serendipity and mysterious forces that don’t necessarily make sense, so the fact that he digitized this music right around that time does have some significance for me, even if I don’t think about it much when listening. I do give Basinski the benefit of the doubt because of how it works from the listening end.
5) I have engaged critically with the way Basinski references 9/11, esp. regarding the film. I wrote about the problems I have with it in this review and also in this column from a year ago.
6) I reviewed Dynasty, the debut album by Ott’s band the Grace Period, for Pitchfork, in Jan. 2002. It’s pretty good. I gave it a 7.4. I did not mention Ott by name in the review even though I think he did almost all the music. I probably didn’t have a press release. And if he was writing for Pitchfork then, I didn’t know about it. I also have the 7” single he mentions here, the one John Peel played, which is even a little better.